In exchange for speaking at Blog Brulee this year, my travel and lodging expenses were covered and I was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: California Almonds
As you may have seen if you follow me on social media, I spent last weekend in Vermont with a group of lovely ladies at Blog Brulee.
Blog Brûlée is an invitation-only, exciting, experiential weekend shared among a small, intimate number of healthy food bloggers and Registered Dietitian bloggers. The event is designed to provide education and professional development opportunities, as well as a forum for discussion and relationship building surrounding topics such as blogging and social media best practices, fundamentals of food photography, communication and marketing strategies, community niche development, brand identity and monetization.
I was scheduled to speak at BB last year but it ended up being too close to my due date for me to fly, so I was thrilled to have the chance to attend as a speaker this year! The conference is organized by some of my favorite RDs – Regan, Deanna, Robin & Gretchen. They rounded up some awesome sponsors (Siggi’s, Smuggler’s Notch, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, California Almonds, and California Ripe Olives) who also helped make the weekend possible!
This year’s group of attendees were pretty fabulous as well:
- Alanna Waldron, RD – Eat Real Food
- Emily Hein, RDN, LD – Zen & Spice
- Lisa Lin – Healthy Nibbles & Bits
- Katie Oberwager – 24 Carrot Life
- Sally Twellman, RD – Twellman Nutrition
- Whitney Reist, RD, LMNT – Sweet Cayenne
- Selena Sharpless – The Nutritious Kitchen
- Amee Livingston – Amee’s Savory Dish
- Alexandra Caspero, RD – Delicious Knowledge
- Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN – Simple Cravings. Real Food.
- Jennifer Pullman, MA, RDN, LDN – Nourished Simply
- Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN – Nutrition Starring YOU
- Sara Haas, RDN, LDN – Sara Haas, RDN
- Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD – Mom’s Kitchen Handbook
- Emily Cooper, RD, LD – Sinful Nutrition
- Anne Danahy, MS, RD, LDN – Craving Something Healthy
- Deborah Davis, MS, RDN – Dietitian Debbie Dishes
- Dana Artinyan, RD, LDN – Art of Nutrition
- Marisa Westbrook – Uproot From Oregon
I’ve gotten to know many of these ladies online over the past several years and it was so fun to get to meet them in person! Be sure to go check out their blogs for great recipes and nutrition info.
Over the course of the weekend, there were several very informative sessions. Regan and Deanna give us some tips and tricks for food photography both using a DSLR and an iphone. Katie of Healthy Seasonal Recipes (one of my personal photography idols) shared some great tips about food styling and editing photos. She inspired me to dig out the cord that came with my camera so I can try shooting tethered! Lisa, an editor at Eating Well, gave some great tips for improving your writing and pitching editors. Katy Widrick (one of my blogging heroes) gave an amazing presentation about SEO…something I’m constantly working to improve. And finally Anne, from Fannetastic Food, shared all sorts of great info about monetizing your blog, working with brands and more!
Which brings me to my session! I teamed up with Kylie from Yeah Imma Eat That and Sally from Real Mom Nutrition to talk about building your virtual community. Kylie is an Instagram rockstar so she shared some tips for success and Sally has built an amazing Facebook community and she had some great examples of how to write great Facebook posts that get engagement and drive traffic.
I talked a little bit about social media, but I spent most of my time talking about building your blogging brand. I shared some suggestions for growing your blog and talked a lot about some of the things I wish I’d done from the very beginning to help define my brand and focus my blog.
I have a few Periscope broadcasts planned to share some of these tips with you guys and I’ll be sure to upload them to YouTube in case you miss them.
For now I’ll leave you with a quick list of lessons from the weekend:
- Take a step back when you’re taking your pictures. You can always crop in, but there’s nothing you can do to fix a photo that’s cropped too tightly.
- There are apps for your phone (like Camera+) that give you a lot of control and allow you to adjust things like aperture and shutter speed when taking a photo.
- You can be confident without knowing everything. Add people to your team who excel at your weaknesses and improve your chances of success.
- In Lightroom, you can increase the saturation to add some color and then individually turn down colors like orange if they look a little over the top. You can also make preset filters to apply to all photos you take in a common lighting situation (like at a certain time of day wherever you take pics in your house).
- Cut to the chase. You can almost always cut at least 100 words from a blog post after it’s written. Remember that more and more people are reading on mobile devices which means you have less screen space to initially get them interested.
- Focus on growing your search traffic. Get a plugin like Yoast and be sure you’re filling in your alt text, meta descriptions and key words.
- Take the time to define your ideal reader. <– This is from me. It’s my #1 piece of advice to help you define and build your blog brand. (More to come).
That’s all for today! If you’re an RD or healthy living blogger, definitely check out the Blog Brulee website and consider applying to go next year!